NEW YORK (AP) - Michael Vick was ordered by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell Monday to stay away from the Atlanta Falcons' training camp until the league reviews the dog fighting charges against him.
Goodell said in a letter to the quarterback that although it is up to the criminal justice system to determine guilt or innocence, it is Goodell's responsibility as commissioner to determine whether Vick's conduct violated league policies, including the Personal Conduct Policy.
The NFL said Vick will still get his preseason pay and Goodell told the Falcons to withhold any disciplinary action of their own until the league's review is completed.
Goodell told Vick the league will complete its review as quickly as possible and that he expects full cooperation.
The Falcons open camp on Thursday, the same day Vick is scheduled to be arraigned in Richmond on charges of sponsoring a dog fighting operation.
Vick was he Number One overall pick in the 2001 draft. Last season, he became the first quarterback ever to rush for more than a thousand yards.
After his indictment last week, the NFL's position was that it would monitor developments and allow the legal process to “determine the facts.” Since then, pressure has been mounting on the league and the Falcons, particularly from animal-rights groups.
The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals demonstrated at Falcons' headquarters in Flowery Branch today and did the same outside NFL offices in New York last week. At the same time, Goodell was meeting with officials from the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. The league and the ASPCA are working on a program to educate players about the proper treatment of animals.
(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved